Still not a whole lot going on and much of what is, is at short notice so it misses posts like this. But, here’s what’s in my diary for October so far.
September 30th to October 17th. Mistatim; a streamed version of the Rsd Sky/TSO collaboration for young people presented by Crow’s Theatre. Streaming codes are $20 from the Crow’s box office.
October 14th 8pm. Soundstreams presents RBC Bridges Showcase; six short choral works by young composers. It’s on-line and free and available for a month. Register here.
October 15th, 7.30pm. The annual IRCPA Encounter concert with ten young singers and Rachel Andrist at the piano. It’s being broadcast from Zoomer Hall, presumably w/o a live audience. It’s free at Classical 96.3 FM, and at http://classicalfm.ca.
October 24th at 3pm. The Dover Quartet at Koerner Hall in a programme that includes Barber’s Dover Beach. There are in-person tickets and live stream codes available. The pricing structure is complex so check out rcmusic.ca for details.
October 29th (subscriber/donors) and 30th (plebs) at 7.30pm. The COC is streaming Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi from the Four Seasons Centre. The stream will be “on-demand” for at least a month and is free.
The first virtual offering if the COC’s season is now available at coc.ca. It’s a ninety minute concert featuring Tamara Wilson, Russell Braun and the COC orchestra with Johannes Debus conducting. The choice of rep is fairly “safe” with plenty of Verdi and Puccini though there’s quite a lot of Wagner too. Both singes are in good voice; Tammy Wilson very much so. Her “Ben io t’invenni… Anch’io dischiuso” from Verdi’s Nabucco is dramatic and there’s a moving “Vissi d’arte”, “Tacea la notte placida… Di tale amor” from Il Trovatore gives evidence of flexibility and precision as well as power in and she gives an excellent Liebestod to finish. Russell sounds really lyrical especially in that concert favourite “Mein Sehnen, mein Wähnen” and in Wolfram’s “O du, mein holder Abendstern”.
What is home? Where is home? The Home Project; a joint production of Native Earth Performing Arts and the Howland Company presented by Soulpepper, addresses these questions through three actors personal visions reflecting, in their own way, three aspects of the Canadian experience. The stories are interwoven on a simple set of moving boxes and a few pieces of furniture. The sound stage is more important than the physical stage and aural effects; well handled considering we are outside and there’s plenty of background noise, are crucial.
The COC has announced “live” performances for the balance of the 2021/22 season and colour me massively underwhelmed. Obviously, the return to live performance is something we’ve all been waiting for but three dull revival productions of ultra-mainstream operas is not what I had hoped for. For the record here is what’s coming up:
Puccini – Madama Butterfly – February 4th – 25th, 2022. Tghis is the COC production that has been seen umpteen times already at the COC and it has absolutely nothing to say. One had hoped that if and when the COC did this piece again they would come up with a new production that wasn’t so transparently colonialist.
Verdi – La Traviata – April 23rd – May 20th, 2022. Another basically dull, traditional production though, at least, as Douglas Adams might say “mostly harmless”.
Mozart – The Magic Flute – May 6th – 21st, 2022. This is the production that the original director called “feminist” though anything “feminist” or, indeed, “anythingist” has escaped me on the multiple occasions I’ve seen it.
So there it is. Looks like a “lowest common denominator” approach to luring back the traditional crowd. It’s certainly hard to see how it helps with reaching out to new audiences or to achieving any of the bold goals of diversity, inclusion and telling stories relevant to today’s audience that were bruited so loud during lockdown.
I’ve been following the Yiddish Glory project for a while now and this year there’s something special for Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur without Fascists surfaced in Almaty, Kazakhstan where it was written in 1945. It fantasizes Adolf Hitler as the kapporot; a sacrificial chicken. It has the same dark humour as most of these Yiddish songs of resistance. There’s a great performance of it on Youtube or you can follow this link to Six Degrees Records where you can buy an audio recording or read the full lyrics.
Back to the Emmet Ray yesterday for another show by Opera Revue. This time Dani Friesen and Claire Harris were joined by baritone Alexander Hajek which allowed for a three set show and quite a few duets. I was really struck by how much throwing in some duets makes the whole show seem more operatic. So what did we get? There was a lot of Mozart, notably duets from Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro, plus solo arias from both operas. And, of course, there was Kurt Weill from Dani. There was at least one Neapolitan songs and several musical theatre numbers (Alex looks very fetching in cat ears) and a guest singing Schumann and probably other stuff I’ve forgotten. All in all, a suitably varied and satisfying selection.
Confluence Conerts has announced its 2021/22 season with some details to be firmed up when anyone figures out what the “new normal” actually is. First up is a presentation of the Bach suites for solo cello in conjunction with the Toronto Bach Festival. They are being performed at Heliconian Hall and recorded for later, free, Youtube streaming on Confluence’s channel. There will be some tickets available for the live performance but no details on that yet. The performances are as follows:
Cello Suites No. 1 in G Major BWV 1007 and No. 3 in C Major BWV 1009 Concert September 22nd at 7pm at the Heliconian Hall YouTube premiere October 1st With Winona Zelenka and Michelle Tang, cello
Cello Suites No.4 in E-flat Major BWV 1010 and No. 6 in D Major BWV 1012 Concert October 21st at 7pm at the Heliconian Hall YouTube premiere October 29th With Keiran Campbell, cello and Elinor Frey, violoncello piccolo
Cello Suites No. 2 in D Minor BWV 1008 and No. 5 in C Minor BWV 1011 Concert November 3rd at 7pm at the Heliconian Hall YouTube premiere November 10th With Andrew Downing, double bass, and Ryan Davis, viola
The disc release (Blu-ray and DVD) of Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Jedermann is actually a 2 for 1. There’s a recording of a performance of the play from the 2020 Salzburg festival plus a 54 minute “docufiction” film about the history of the festival.
Date with the Divas volume 2 is the latest Youtube offering from Opera Sustenida (Stephanie DeCiantis – soprano and film diva, Nicole Whitney Dubinsky -soprano, Daniella Theresia – mezzo and tech diva and Suzanne Yeo – piano). It’s the first of their shows that I’ve seen. It’s one of those films where everything is recorded in people’s homes and then patched together into a film and it’s as well done as anything in the genre that I’ve seen. The video editing is really good though some sections that were broadcast “live” during the initial streaming were a bit weird sonically. Fortunately that didn’t affect the music.